Description of Historic Place
The Tower is located at the Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada, near the mouth of the Niagara River overlooking Lake Ontario. Set on a flat, grassed area within the fort’s earthworks, the sturdy two-and-a-half-storey structure features tapering, brick-clad, stone walls. Loopholes and a single, raised entrance reflect the defensive function of the structure. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Tower is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Tower is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the defence of Upper Canada. The British built Fort Mississauga for the defence of Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake, after the destruction of Fort George in the War of 1812-1814. The Tower was designed to function as a fire and bombproof central keep within the star-shaped earthworks, and initially housed a small artillery corps. During the 1837 Rebellion, it was refitted to accommodate 50 soldiers, and was again repaired at the outbreak of the American Civil War. Thus, the tower is associated with the initial and on-going development of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and with the town’s continuing economic development.
The Tower exhibits good aesthetic qualities as a specialized, early 19th-century coastal defence structure. Similar in function and design to a Martello Tower, it is unusual in its square plan. Very good functional design is evident in the massively strong defence characteristics, the protected, single entrance and the subterranean, bombproof design. The brick and stonework demonstrate very good craftsmanship.
The Tower reinforces the historic character of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada and is a conspicuous landmark to both local people and visitors.
Shannon Ricketts, Twenty Buildings, Niagara Historic Sites, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 89-017; Tower, Fort Mississauga, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-017
The character-defining elements of the Tower should be respected.
The good aesthetics and very good functional design and good quality materials and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the simple, geometric massing of the squat, square tower;
- the massive exterior walls built of brick clad masonry, which inclines slightly inwards as it rises;
- the loopholes, and the single, slightly raised ground floor entrance;
- the interior layout.
The manner in which the Tower reinforces the historic character of Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada and is a well-known landmark within the fort, as evidenced by:
- its specialized design and materials that harmonize with the military setting of the fort;
- its role as a major structural component at the Fort Mississauga National Historic Site of Canada complex, including the powder magazines, that makes it familiar to locals and visitors.